The other day I was reading some comics I liked and realised that there are lots of comics that were a big influence on how I developed Rose into a comic! So I thought it might be interesting if I talk about them here a bit. Consider them some of the secret ingredients of Rose.
Well, yeah, I mean, duh. You can see Archie’s influence all over Rose within seconds, and it’s a comparison I’ve never been shy about. That classic Dan Decarlo art style is the light on the hill I’ve been working towards for years, and I know I’ll never get anywhere close to it but I keep trying to move forward anyway. Some of my earliest comic book memories involve Archie digests being passed around the school room, and I quickly noticed that everyone liked reading Archie but only some kids liked the GI Joes and Transformers comics that were also in circulation. I liked that you can hand anyone an Archie book and they would read it, and that’s something I always wanted to be able to say about Rose.
Not many people know about this one, but I absolutely adored the UK comic strip. It was basically a Peanuts clone with kids that talked like adults, a perpetual loser hero, a rambunctious girl who tormented him, and a dog that spoke in thought bubbles, but I always had a soft spot for the strip. Somehow I wound up with a handful of paperback collections of the strips and I loved how the kids talked to each other and made no apologies for their local dialect and accents. Rose is an Irish lass and I really try not to hide that.
Oh man. OH MAN. I was devouring John Allison’s Bad Machinery strips as I started work on Rose #1, and I think it’s only now that I’m realising what a big influence it was. I am smitten with how the kids talk to each other, and the strip is peppered with quiet little moments where you can just soak up the atmosphere. I love how regular words are used as sound effects. Maybe one day Rose and her friends will solve mysteries.
Love And Rockets
Jamie Hernandez’s part of Love And Rockets are just jaw droppingly beautiful. (Sorry Gilbert fans, I just never got into his stuff!) I adore his smooth, expressive lines and how he occasionally dips into Charles Schulz-esque cartooning for comedic effect. I discovered Love And Rockets when I was, what, 13 or so, and was struck by how a comic could have natural conversations about stuff that people really talk about. Every time I write dialogue with Rose talking to her friends I think about Love And Rockets.
(What kind of comic shop was selling a 13 year old Love And Rockets?! Oh wait, the same one that didn’t mind a 13 year old hanging out in the store all day instead of going to school. The world was a different place back then!)
Calvin & Hobbes
I don’t think anyone would fight me for saying that this is the best comic strip to have been made in the last 50 years. There’s a billion articles out there on the internet about why Bill Watterson is a genius, but for me I always loved how Calvin was so self-obsessed but still charming as hell. It’s a quality that Rose has (plus her love of outbursts when she is suffering an injustice) that I like to think I convey in her stories.
Strangers In Paradise
OK truth to tell I can’t draw a direct line between Terry Moore’s incredible series and Rose, but every year I read his incredible How To Draw book and
a) learn something new that I try to put into the comics, especially when it comes to drawing hair, clothing or women in general
b) have a good long cry because I will never, ever, ever draw that well.
So there you go, a little peek behind the curtain! You never know where influences come from!